Big Colorado energy players to build project in North Dakota

Source: By Cathy Proctor, Denver Business Journal • Posted: Monday, September 14, 2015

Two of Colorado’s biggest players in the energy sector are teaming up to build a wind farm — in North Dakota.

Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer with four factories in Colorado, on Friday said it had landed a “firm and unconditional order” for 100 of the company’s V100-2.0 megawatt turbines. Collectively, the turbines are capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of power.

Vestas sold more than 500 V100s in 2013.

Vestas sold more than 500 V100s in 2013. Vestas Wind Systems

The turbines are destined for the Courtenay Wind Farm, which will be owned and operated by Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) near the town of Jamestown in eastern North Dakota.

Delivery of the wind turbines is expected to begin in third quarter of 2016, with commissioning planned for fourth quarter of 2016.

Xcel had planned to buy the power generated by the wind farm for its customers under a power purchase agreement, or PPA, but stepped in to buy the $300 million wind farm project when the previous owner, Geronimo Energy LLC, failed to secure financing.

State regulators in Minnesota, where Xcel has its headquarters, and in North Dakota had previously approved the power purchase agreement. They also have signed off on Xcel owning the wind farm outright.

Chris Clark, president of Northern States Power Co., a subsidiary of Xcel, said in May that “the Courtenay project is an important part of our aggressive plans to reduce carbon emissions and double our commitment to renewable energy resources in the most cost-effective way possible.

“We are glad for the opportunity to preserve the benefits of this project for our customers. The Courtenay Wind Farm has the added value of locating an important generation resource in North Dakota, an important part of our service territory,” Clark said.

Vestas has four plants in Colorado: a blades plant in Windsor, a blades plant and a nacelles plant in Brighton, and a towers plant in Pueblo.

The manufacturing company has been on a hiring spree this year, announcing plans to hire 400 people in March to work at its Windsor plant and in August holding job fairs to hire more than 350 additional people, according to Vestas executives.